Gemstones come in many forms, made from minerals, rocks, and even organic stuff. Out of the 300 known gemstones and 2000 minerals, some are super rare and way more special than diamonds. What makes them rare? It’s a cool mix of things like swapping atoms in their crystal structure, having tiny bits in them, and forming under unique pressure and heat.
In our list, we’ve picked out some of these incredibly expensive and rarest gemstones that stand out. They’re sorted based on what they’re made of, how light bends in them, their crystal structure, and how they look. And here’s the fascinating part: even the smallest imperfections in a gemstone or mineral can make a big difference in its value and how rare it is. So, let’s dive into this collection of some of the expensive and rarest gemstones out there!
Unlike most gemstones that are mined from various locations globally, this relatively new gem has exclusively emerged from the mines in northern Tanzania. Its fascinating history traces back to 1967 when a Masai tribesman named Ali Juuyawatu unearthed the very first of these precious stones. Known as Tanzanite, it represents a blue variant of zoisite, boasting a captivating hue.
What sets Tanzanite apart is its rarity. Experts estimate that the supply of this gem might deplete within the next 20 to 30 years, making it significantly scarcer compared to diamonds.
When considering buying Tanzanite, note that it ranks around 6-7 on the Mohs scale, indicating its durability for everyday wear. The most coveted shade resembles a pure, vibrant blue, often mistaken for blue sapphire due to its striking resemblance. Interestingly, the intense color in most Tanzanite stones results from heat treatments.
For those seeking the most vibrant color, larger stones of 5 carats and above tend to display the richest hues. On average, high-quality Tanzanite stones are priced at around €1,037 ($1,200) per carat, reflecting their rarity and exquisite appeal.
Jeremejevite, an aluminum-rich borate mineral featuring fluoride and hydroxide, was first unearthed in Siberia’s Adun-Chilon Mountains in 1883. With a Mohs hardness ranging from 6.5 to 7.5, this gem is akin to quartz in durability, making it a splendid choice for crafting exquisite jewelry pieces.
Valued at an average price of €1,729 ($2,000) per carat, Jeremejevite’s rare combination of robustness and distinct chemical composition elevates its appeal, positioning it as a sought-after gemstone in the market, also it is counted in the expensive and rarest gemstones in the world.
Fire Opal, denoted chemically as SiO2 nH2O, holds a unique status as a mineraloid rather than a mineral due to its distinctive properties. Its classification deviates from traditional minerals due to the absence of a crystalline structure, setting it apart in the realm of gemstones.
Derived from a hydrated form of silica or silicon dioxide, Fire Opal’s vibrant name originates from its remarkable display of fiery hues and iridescent play of colors. Gemstone enthusiasts and gemologists alike are intrigued by the multitude of colors it exhibits, a result of the varied environmental conditions during its formation. This fascinating diversity allows for an expansive palette, from brilliant reds and oranges to vivid yellows and flashes of green.
Beyond its aesthetic allure, the mineralogy of Fire Opal grants it a unique ability to diffract light, creating a captivating, shimmering effect that mesmerizes admirers. For gemstone aficionados and professionals, studying the intricate play of light within Fire Opal unveils insights into its formation and composition, offering a wealth of knowledge in gemological pursuits.
Priced at an average of €1,987 ($2,300) per carat, this gemstone’s exceptional characteristics and its distinct classification as a mineraloid contribute to its esteemed status in the world of gemstones, making it a captivating choice for collectors and enthusiasts seeking rarity coupled with mesmerizing beauty.
Poudretteite, with its chemical composition denoted as KNa2B3Si12O30, emerged onto the gemstone scene through its discovery at Mont Saint-Hilaire in Quebec during the 1960s, aptly named after the Poudrette family. Renowned for its natural pink hue, this gem boasts a Mohs hardness of 5, signifying moderate durability.
While its existence was known since the 1960s, it wasn’t until the year 2000 that the first gem-quality Poudretteite was uncovered in Mogok, Burma, dazzling the gemstone world with its sizable 9.41-carat weight. This find amplified the gem’s allure and rarity, drawing attention to its unique and exquisite characteristics.
Priced at an average of €2,593 ($3,000) per carat, Poudretteite’s scarcity and the exceptional quality found in Mogok further elevate its worth in the eyes of gemstone enthusiasts and collectors. This gemstone’s journey from its initial discovery to the revelation of high-quality specimens showcases its evolution in both recognition and value within the gemstone market.
Demantoid garnet, an exceptional green variant of andradite garnet, made its dazzling debut in the mid-1800s, originating from discoveries in Russia. While many warm-toned garnets are common and budget-friendly, demantoid garnet stands out as an extraordinary rarity within this gemstone family, commanding significant value and esteem.
Characterized by its scarcity, larger demantoid garnets, surpassing 2 carats, are a rarity, with most crystals presenting in smaller sizes. The elusive nature of these larger specimens contributes to their heightened desirability among gemstone enthusiasts and collectors.
For prospective buyers, demantoid garnet scores between 6.5 and 7.5 on the Mohs scale, ensuring durability suitable for daily wear when properly cared for. Given its infrequent occurrence in larger sizes, seeking stones between 0.5 and 0.75 carats is advisable for those aiming for both quality and affordability.
With an average price of €2,851 ($3,300) per carat for superior natural stones, demantoid garnet’s scarcity and exceptional qualities position it as a coveted gemstone, admired for its rarity and captivating green brilliance.
Black opal is generally the rarest and most popular type of opal and is also considered one of the rarest of all gemstones. The world’s black opal supply comes predominantly from Lightning Ridge, New South Wales, Australia.
Buying advice: The main characteristic that will differentiate black opal from common opal is its body tone. Although black opals can appear in many colors, their overall composition is on the darker end of the spectrum. Be sure to buy black opal from a reputable dealer. Average price per carat: €3,024 ($3,500)
Benitoite (BaTiSi3O9) is a brilliant blue g-stone composed of barium, titanium, and silica. Benitoite forms during the last cooling stage of hydrothermally altered serpentinite. This rare gemstone is found in San Benito County, California, hence its name. Benitoite fluoresces strongly and glows with a bright blue color.
Most everyday jewelry enthusiasts will never be able to see the true beauty of benitoite. This stone was discovered in the early 1900s by George D. Louderback. It is the official gemstone of California in 1985. The stone was misidentified as spinel in the past but was eventually re-examined and reclassified due to the gemstone’s high level of brilliance. Buying tip: You will need to be suspicious and find a reliable contact to buy benitoite. Stones that are too dark will not reflect light well, and stones that are too light will look washed out. Don’t expect to find stones over 3 carats. Average price per carat: €3,458 ( $4,000) per carat for stones with medium blue tones.
Sapphire is one of the most famous gemstones. The best-known sapphire deposits are located in India, Vietnam, Russia, Thailand, Australia, the United States, China, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Madagascar. Blue in color, the stone can also be pink, green, or yellow-orange. Average price per carat: €3,458 – 5,188 ($ 4,000 – $6,000) per carat for stones with medium blue tones.
Musgravite, a fascinating aluminum oxide gemstone, boasts diverse proportions of magnesium, iron, and zinc within its composition (Be(Mg,Fe,Zn)2Al6O12). Its inception traces back to its initial discovery in 1967 within the Musgrave Ranges of Australia, contributing to its namesake. Beyond Australia, deposits of Musgravite have been unearthed in regions like Tanzania, Greenland, Madagascar, and even Antarctica.
This exceptionally rare gemstone showcases a stunning palette of colors, ranging from captivating greens to mesmerizing blues and regal purples. This color variability adds to its allure, captivating gemstone enthusiasts with its rarity and visual diversity.
Belonging to the same esteemed family as taaffeite, Musgravite shares both rarity and hardness. Its scarcity and robustness on the Mohs scale position it as an exclusive find within the gemstone world.
Priced at an average of €5,188 ($6,000) per carat, Musgravite’s combination of scarcity, striking color variations, and shared heritage with taaffeite make it an exceptionally prized gemstone among collectors and connoisseurs alike. Its scarcity and unique characteristics continue to solidify its position as one of the most coveted gemstones in the market.
Padparadscha sapphires, pronounced as pad-pah-raj-ah, stand among the rarest gemstones globally, primarily sourced from Sri Lanka, alongside discoveries in Tanzania and Madagascar. Their unparalleled allure stems from a striking fusion of pink and orange hues, rendering them immensely coveted among collectors and connoisseurs.
For gemologists and enthusiasts, understanding Padparadscha sapphires involves appreciating their scarcity and the geographical nuances of their origin. Their exclusivity contributes to their elevated status within the gemstone realm, making them a prized addition to any collection.
Buying these exquisite stones requires a keen eye. Given their rarity and steep pricing, opting for stones with slightly less clarity or a less vibrant color, or choosing smaller sizes, can be more feasible. The shapes of these stones often vary, as cutters aim to maximize carat weight, emphasizing the scarcity-driven demand.
In the market, Padparadscha sapphires over 2 carats come at a premium. The average price of €6,919 ($8,000) per carat for high-quality gems underscores their rarity and desirability among gemstone aficionados and dealers alike. Their scarcity and the intricacies involved in sourcing and evaluating these stones contribute to their esteemed position as some of the most coveted and valuable gemstones available.
Red beryl (Be3Al2Si6O18) is a mineral composed of beryllium, aluminum, and silicate. In nature, pure beryl is colorless but acquires its coloring from traces of additional elements. Red beryl occurs in mineralized rhyolite tuffs. Red beryl is an extremely rare variety of beryl that has only been found in Utah and New Mexico. It was discovered by Maynard Bixby in 1904. Although it has been found in two locations, gem-quality red beryl has only been mined in Utah.
Described by some as the red emerald, this rare mineral is very difficult to find due to the unique conditions necessary for the formation of this stone. Purchase advice: Please note that synthetic red beryl has been produced. Like emeralds, red beryls often contain inclusions, but they don’t necessarily impact the overall value of the gemstone. If you come across a high-quality red beryl stone with excellent clarity and a lot of carat weight, you are probably dealing with a synthetic. Large specimens of red beryl are so rare that they often remain uncut and sold to collectors as specimens. Most cut red beryl stones weigh less than 1 carat. Average price per carat: € 8,640 ($10,000) per carat for high-quality material.
Alexandrite (BeAl2O4) is a type of chrysoberyl that has been found in the Ural Mountains. The difference between alexandrite and chrysoberyl is the presence of iron, titanium, and chromium present as impurities in alexandrite. Alexandrite is green in sunlight and red in incandescent light, making it one of the few color-changing gemstones on the market.
The stone was discovered in 1830 in the Ural Mountains of Russia, which is also home to other unusual minerals. The stone was named after Tsar Alexander II. Buying tip: Smaller varieties of alexandrite have been mined in Sri Lanka, Brazil, and Asia, but alexandrite specimens are still very rare and expensive. Average price per carat: € 10,379 ($12,000) per carat
Ruby is one of the most popular stones in the world, it is known for its shades of red. Its red color is due to the presence of chromium oxide, it belongs to the corundum family.
Sapphires are other variants of corundum. Ruby has a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale. the diamond has a hardness of 10. It can be found on all continents except Antarctica. The main deposits are in Thailand, Myanmar and Sri Lanka, but the most valuable Rubies come from Asia. Average price per carat: € 12,961 ($15,000) per carat
The diamond (C) is the one we’ve all heard of and is the centerpiece of most engagement rings. As indicated in their chemical composition, diamonds are made of pure carbon which explains their incredible strength and durability. Diamonds are found in cooled kimberlites that have formed over 1 to 3 billion years. Average price per carat: € 12,961 ($15,000) per carat
Serendibite ((Ca,Na)2(Mg,Fe2+)3(Al,Fe3+)3) is an extremely rare gemstone and mineral originally discovered in Sri Lanka in 1902. This inosilicate has a complex chemical formula with many side branches of calcium, boron, aluminum, magnesium, etc. Serendibite was recently discovered in the Mogok region of Myanmar. Average price per carat: € 15,571 ($18,000) per carat
Although in appearance, jadeite ranks at the top of our list as one of the most valuable gemstones in the world. This gemstone is the most expensive and beautiful variety of jade. Since this dark green translucent gem is significantly rarer than other jade types, it is worth much more.
Buying tip: If you want jadeite, but can’t afford the price, consider buying a cheaper version, nephrite or dupe jade, aventurine. The value of jadeite is based on the level of transparency and depth of color. Some very beautiful pieces have even been sold for more than 1 million dollars per carat. Most jadeites on the market will sell for significantly less. Average price per carat: € 17,295 ($20,000) per carat for high-grade material.
Grandidierite ((Mg, Fe2+) Al3 (BO3) (SiO4) O2) is a very rare gem that can fetch up to $20,000 per carat and be first discovered in Madagascar in 1902. It is often found as an accessory mineral on boron- and aluminum-rich rocks with a pearly semi-transparent bluish-green hue. Average price per carat: € 17,295 ($20,000) per carat for high-grade material.
Taaffeite (BeMgAl4O8) is a very rare mineral and is often confused with spinel. Amazingly, the gemstone was first discovered already cut and polished in Dublin Ireland in 1945. At the time the gemstone was mislabeled as spinel and upon inspection, it was determined that the mineral was actually a new unidentified gem. The main difference between spinel and taaffeite is the double refraction found in taaffeite. The gem is found in alluvial deposits in Sri Lanka and Tanzania. Average price per carat: € 30,249 ($35,000) per carat for high-grade material.
Blue Garnet is a very rare and extremely expensive gemstone. There are only a few deposits in Madagascar, the United States, Turkey, and Russia. Blue Garnet appears blue-green when exposed to daylight, while it turns purple when illuminated by unnatural light. The price of one carat is estimated at 1.5 million dollars. The most expensive blue garnet stone of 4.2 carats was sold in 2003, for the sum of 6.8 million dollars. Average price per carat: €1,296,060 ($1,500,000) per carat.
Above we featured the diamond as one of the most expensive gemstones, and at number 2 with a price tag of over $1-2 million per carat, we find the red diamond. There are less than 30 red diamonds found worldwide, most of them less than half a carat. You might assume that the red color comes from impurity, but it’s actually derived from the plastic deformation of the crystal lattice. There is only one deposit for this stone, it is located in Australia and is called The Argyle Mine. The famous Moussaieff red diamond of 5.11ct was acquired in 2011 for 8 million dollars. It is the largest red diamond discovered in the world. Average price per carat: € 864,790 – € 1,727,940 ($1,000,000 – $2,000,000) per carat.
The most expensive gemstones in the world are blue diamonds. Not only are they rare, but they are also known to have a spectacular shine. Of all the other gemstones, they are arguably the most popular among people. The Oppenheimer Blue Diamond is the largest vivid blue diamond ever to be auctioned. It was sold for 57.5 million dollars for a weight of 14.62 carats, or 3.39 million euros per carat.